Evaluating Nursing Productivity in Child Health


Address correspondence to Mary Jo Clark, Philip Y. Hahn School of Nursing, University of San Diego, Alcala Park, San Diego, CA 92031.


As nurses are increasingly concerned with assessing and improving their productivity in a variety of settings, they must make systematic use of an evaluation model. The Discrepancy Evaluation Model (DEM) was used to evaluate the productivity of nurses in child health clinics in five centers in the southeastern United States. The first step in any evaluation is to identify standards against which performance can be measured. In this project, no standards were available, and creating them was the first task. Standards for productivity in child health were developed that accounted for differences in clients and the experience level of nurses, while maintaining quality of care. They were situation specific and allowed for the constraints operating in each of the five centers. Discrepancies between the standards and observed performance were identified and underlying factors examined, resulting in a number of recommendations that could streamline the provision of services and improve nursing productivity. The evaluation process can be applied to public health nursing services in a variety of settings.